This year CGCM decided to include EP (previously they were excluded from Top Ten Albums). Live albums and re-records were still disqualified, new music only for Best of Year. We also instigated a (highly complex🤣 – 1 point for 10th place through to 10 points for 1st place) rating system throughout all individual lists to culminate a Collective Best of 2020.
You can find the Collective List as well as all our Best of 2020 content including contributors’ individual lists, podcasts and radio DJ shows here: CGCM’s Best of 2020 (Year in Review)
Best Of 2020 – Dave “Andy Travis” Wood (Radio DJ) 🇨🇦
One thing 2020 has taught me, is I’m incredibly lacking in my knowledge of heavy metal bands! Particularly bands based outside of North America. With the launch of CGCM Radio, I’m working on expanding and adding more depth to my listening experiences. Fellow CGCMers Rich “The Meister” Dillon and Trevor “Psychoone” McDougall have been rather instrumental in me expanding my musical horizons. Two extremely passionate metalheads for sure (and I mean that with great respect)! I often get lost in conversations with the crazy in-depth knowledge those guys have. There are a few bands on this list, that even though they’ve been around a very long time, I would have never heard of them if it wasn’t for CGCM Radio – What Rock Radio Should Be! – Dave “Andy Travis” Wood
#10 – LILIAC – Queen Of Hearts 🇺🇸
Liliac is a really cool band of siblings ranging in age from 12 to 21. Three brothers and two sisters make up this L.A. based group. I was lucky enough to see them live a couple of years ago at a show in Toronto and absolutely loved them. This album seems harder to me than the previous releases and I’m ok with that! This album shows some growth for sure more. This family rocks and I think they’ve got a great future ahead of them. Stay the course Liliac! My favourite cuts are “Nothing”, “Crazy Nights”, and “Sail Away”.
#9 – DOKKEN – The Lost Songs 1978 – 1981 🇺🇸
Last year, saw the release of a collection of pre-Great White songs in the form of Dante Fox – The Roots of Great White 1978 – 1982 and I wrote that I wished more bands would do the same. Well, my wish was answered in the form of Dokken – The Lost Songs 1978 – 1981! Yes, the recording quality is sub-par, but I think it’s still a treat for the Dokken fan that wants to go back to check out the early stages of this band. My notable tracks are “Step Into The Light”, “Day After Day”, and “No Answer”
#8 – AC/DC – Power Up 🇦🇺
AC/DC is back with their 17th studio album, and it’s a good one! In my younger years, I often overlooked AC/DC releases, in favour of a more ‘hair metal’ sound. I don’t do that as much anymore, otherwise, I might have missed this one! To me they’ve always kinda been the “Kings of the power chords” and this album fits right in with that title. Like some of the ‘older bands’, I take comfort in knowing they’re still out there releasing guitar-driven hard rock! Personal favourites on this CD are “Shot In The Dark”, “Realize”, and “Witches Spell”.
CGCM Album review AC/DC – Power Up by Sparky
#7 – BONFIRE – Fistful of Fire 🇩🇪
Bonfire is one of those bands that I wasn’t familiar with until I heard them on CGCM Radio. Rich ‘The Meister’ Dillon reviewed it on the CGCM website back in the spring of 2020 and I’m glad he did! Worth checking out when you need a good dose of melodic metal!
My go-to tracks on this one are “Rock & Roll Survivors”, “Breaking Out”, and “When An Old Man Cries”.
#6 – REVOLUTION SAINTS – Rise 🇺🇸
2020 saw the release of the third studio album by ‘supergroup’ Revolution Saints.
If you like your hard rock a bit more on the melodic side, then pick this album up! It fits in very well with the previous 2 releases. I’d love to see this band live! My favourite cuts on this one are “When the Heartache is Gone”, “Coming Home”, and “Price We Pay”
#5 – SHAKRA – Mad World 🇨🇭
Shakra is another band I’d never heard of before CGCM Radio but, fellow CGCMer Tom Cornell reviewed this record back in February of 2020. They’ve been around for 25 years? When I started hearing them on CGCM Radio, I had to dive into it further. Especially “Too Much Is Not Enough”. Love that tune! One of those tunes that I just have to crank up and really soak it in. For me, notable tracks are “Too Much Is Not Enough”, “Mad World”, “Fireline”, and “When He Comes Around”.
CGCM Album Review: SHAKRA – Mad Word by Tom Cornell
#4 – VANDENGERG – 2020 🇳🇱🇺🇸
For this one, I gotta thank Spotify! I was really only familiar with Adrian Vandenberg from his time in Whitesnake, but this album came up on my Spotify ‘new release radar’, so I checked it out and it’s my kinda rock right there! I’m going with the song “Freight Train” as that was the song that I heard first that really made me have a closer look at this release. Notable tracks for me, “Freight Train”, Shadows of the Night”, and “Let It Rain”.
#3 – STORM FORCE – Age Of Fear 🇨🇦
Very early on in 2020 when CGCM Podcast talked at length about this release, I knew I had to give it a good listen. Wally “Gator” Norton predicted right from its release that this would be on most of our Top Ten lists for 2020 and he was right. Such a solid album! Storm Force is a Canadian hard rock band from Niagara Falls and founded by Brighton Rock (and friend of CGCM Podcast) Greg Fraser. What I love about this album as it’s got everything I’m looking for in a rock album. I love the guitar-driven hard melodic rock, and I like to slow it down sometimes as well. This record has got both as well as tunes that go right down the middle. It’s a perfectly balanced album, and it makes me eager as to what’s gonna come next for these guys! My favourites on this one are “Different Roads”, “Because of You”, and ”Weight of the World”.
CGCM Album review Storm Force – Age of Fear by Wallygator
#2 – A FALL TO BREAK – Divided By Tyrants 🇺🇸
A Fall to Break is an independent hard rock band from Arizona. I wasn’t familiar with them until I saw them on my Facebook feed. Robby Lochner from Jack Russell’s Great White does the guitar solo on the first single “The Star That I’ll Become.” So, when I saw him sharing the music video, I had to check it out. A couple of days later guitarist Craig Artz was on an episode of a Facebook live show called “The Hangout Live” and I got chatting with him a bit more. I really dig these guys! They’ve got a hard and fresh sound that gives me hope for the future of hard rock music! Give “The Star That I’ll Become” a listen. Soooo good! Use that tune as a jumping-off point and then dive in and check these guys out! My go-to tracks on this one are “The Star That I’ll Become”, “Invisible”, and “Is This Real”.
#1 – SHADOW AND THE THRILL – Sugarbowl 🇺🇸
Shadow and the Thrill is a blues-based melodic rock band from Los Angeles, California. Tony Cardenas-Montana from Great White and Jack Russell’s Great White teams up with Brentt Arcement and delivers one of the best albums I’ve heard in many years! Easily my most enjoyed and most played album of 2020. It ain’t even close! The album kicks off with a revisit of the popular Gnarls Barkley tune “Crazy” from back in 2006. Tony and Brentt give it a real cool bluesy makeover and it works so well! The album just gets better from there. The groove on “Just Enough” just grabs me and takes me in every time. I sure hope we get more from these guys. Take my money! It’s waaay too good to be just a ‘one-off’ album. Hopefully, we get to see them in a live show as well, when we’re allowed to do that again! My favourite tracks are “Just Enough“, “Ready To Roll“, “Sugarbowl” and “The Grind“. Highly, highly recommended!
Honourable mention of albums that I really enjoyed but just didn’t fit or qualify for this list:
Sass Jordan – Rebel Moon Blues, Mitch Perry Group – Music Box, Jack Russell’s Great White – Once Bitten Acoustic Bytes, Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man, Joe Satriani – Shapeshifting, H.E.A.T – II and Deep Purple – Whoosh!
Don’t forget to take a look at all our Best of 2020 content including the COLLECTIVE BEST ALBUMS LIST (culminated via the ratings in the individual lists), all our contributors’ individual best lists, podcast episodes and Radio DJ shows CGCM’s Best of 2020 (Year in Review)